Keywords: Islam; Imam; Islamic Clergy; United Kingdom; Germany; France; Austria; Islamgesetz; Italy; Fundamental Rights; Freedom of Religion; Integration; Multiculturalism; Interculturalism.
The fast settlement of Muslim migrants in Europe is enhancing Imams as figures capable of wielding considerable influence within their communities. In this respect, many European countries are developing policies in order to safeguard pluralism and fundamental rights (especially the freedom of religion) as well as to maintain their internal security and their social and legal cohesion. This essay is seeking to analyse the issue of Muslim clergy training in Europe. To this aim, it is structured in three parts: the first part is dedicated to the study of the specific characteristics and legitimation of the Imams in Europe (§§ 2 and 3). In the second part three major issues concerning the training of Imams in Europe are taken into account on a horizontal approach: the theological training (§ 4); the civic-cultural training (§ 5) and the financial support (§ 6). These three aspects are analysed within certain European countries (i.e. United Kingdom, Germany, France and Austria). The third part is focused on the Italian case: in particular, it evaluates the legal basis of the current dialogue among Muslim communities and the Italian State, the current legislative proposals (§ 7) and the constitutional legitimacy of any measure in the light of the Italian and comparative constitutional framework (§ 8).